Arlington, VA

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Arlington resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: Do you have any guidance on choosing which Title Company to work with when buying or selling real estate?

Answer: Title companies handle the legal side of the transaction such as ensuring the buyer has clear ownership, reviewing and recording the deed, issuing title insurance, and preparing paperwork for the buyer and seller to sign at closing. They operate in the background of transactions and usually the less you hear from them, the better. They are not legal representatives of either party and objectively support the buyer and seller.

In Virginia (and D.C./MD), buyers select the title company. In some cases, a seller may want to use their own firm/attorney and will request a “split settlement” but that is less common and should be done for a good reason.

Most people don’t know a title attorney or get a referral from a friend, so how do you go about choosing your title company?

Your Real Estate Agent

You shouldn’t be hiring a real estate agent because they’re the first person to raise their hand to meet you at a property you found online. Among the reasons you hire an agent should be because you trust their advice and want access to their network of professionals who are relevant to a real estate transaction.

Your agent should be the first person you turn to for a recommendation on the title company. He/she has likely worked with dozens or hundreds of title companies before and hopefully has one or two to recommend.

It’s perfectly fair to ask your agent why they’re recommending a specific title company.

Fees

The highest fee associated with a title company is title insurance and those prices are set by the insurance company, not the title company. Different title companies work with different title insurance companies, but rates are similar (or identical) amongst them. If you see big differences in title insurance between two title companies, one may be quoting a basic vs enhanced coverage (buyer’s choice).

I rarely see discretionary fees charged by the title company vary by more than a few hundred dollars. You can always find a cheaper option for title services, but the legal support on a real estate transaction worth hundreds of thousands or millions may not be a smart place to save a few hundred dollars and risk quality of service.

Location

It’s important to use a local title company who is familiar with local real estate and tax practices, not just licensed to practice here. I use one title company (Universal Title) for Northern Virginia transactions and one title company for Washington, D.C. and Maryland transactions (District Title).

Attorney Experience

Most sales follow a pretty standard, predictable process that inexperienced title companies/attorneys can handle but occasionally something unexpected comes up that requires experience/expertise to identify and resolve an issue. If problems do surface, having access to an experienced local title attorney can be the difference in whether or not the problem is even identified, whether a sale closes, and/or how much time and stress it takes to resolve the issue.

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Arlington resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

I published my first Ask Eli column on November 10, 2015, just over four years ago. 200+ columns later, I’m incredibly thankful for the ARLnow community for the opportunity to share my perspective on local real estate and explore interesting market trends with you each week.

Your feedback over the years, both privately and in public comments (yes, I appreciate every one of them) challenges and motivates me because I know my neighbors are actually reading.

I also want to thank Scott and his amazing team at ARLnow for building this platform and providing Arlington residents, workers and businesses with highly valuable, hyperlocal news. The operation they run far outsizes the people operating it, which speaks to their hard work and talents. If you want to express your gratitude for their dedication to free local news, their email address is [email protected].

From my family to yours, have a great Thanksgiving!

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column or to set-up an in-person meeting to discuss local real estate, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at www.EliResidential.com. Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington D.C., and Maryland with RLAH Real Estate, 4040 N. Fairfax Dr. #10C Arlington, VA 22203, (703) 390-9460.

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Arlington resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: I recently saw a home listed in Arlington for almost $30M. Are there neighborhoods in Arlington with ultra-expensive homes like this?

Answer: We hear a lot about the “missing middle” in Arlington housing, but there’s another market that Arlington struggles to support that nobody is talking about… the super-rich. Sure we have plenty of homes that sell for $1M-$2.5M (457 sold in 2019) but in 2019 there were only seven sales over $2.5M and just one over $3M (and that was a sub-dividable lot). So what gives with everybody calling Arlington “expensive” if we can’t support the super-rich? Where do they live? (I hope my sarcasm is coming across…)

Arlington’s Most Expensive Homes

The recently listed $28.5M home, by Mark Lowham of TTR Sotheby’s, on the Potomac River side of Chain Bridge Road is an anomaly in Arlington. Outside of the prestigious Country Club Hills neighborhood and Turnberry Tower penthouse-level condos, sale prices in Arlington rarely eclipse the $3M mark and even in those communities the handful of $3M+ sales historically top out at $4M. And then you have a very small pocket of ultra-luxury homes at $5M+ along the Potomac, off Chain Bridge Road, which fall within Arlington County, but actually have a McLean mailing address and zip code (22101).

Note: There are dozens more homes in Arlington worth $3M-$5M that just haven’t been sold. Many are custom built in the last 10-15 years with the original owners still occupying them. There are also a handful of private sales that aren’t entered into the MLS because they were sold off-market.

Why Doesn’t Arlington Have Ultra-Expensive Homes?

So with so much wealth and close proximity to D.C., why doesn’t Arlington have more ultra-expensive homes? The answer is lot size.

For anybody that has looked for a home with a little elbow room/privacy in Arlington, you’ve reached the unfortunate conclusion that it’s very difficult to find anything with more than ¾ acres (even ½ acre is highly coveted) and there are just a small handful of properties with more than 1.5 acres. Smaller lots make it difficult to build enough house to justify a $5M+ price tag.

Where To Spend $5M+?

So where do people with $5M+ to spend on a home live? In Northern Virginia, most of those homes are in McLean or Great Falls, as well as further west in Loudoun County’s horse/wine country. D.C.’s most popular ultra-expensive neighborhoods are Georgetown and Kalorama, with a spattering of other neighborhoods west of Rock Creek Park. In Maryland you’ll find the most expensive homes in Potomac along River Road, as well as Chevy Chase and Bethesda.

Enjoy Some Photos

For those of you who are here just for the pictures, here you go! I’ve linked to $5M homes either for sale or sold in the last few years in the area:

Whether or not you’re looking for a $5M home or $50k parking spot, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] to schedule a meeting to discuss your real estate plans!

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column or to set-up an in-person meeting to discuss local real estate, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at www.EliResidential.com. Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington D.C., and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

Photo via Mark Lowham, TTR Sotheby’s

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Arlington resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: I’m in the process of searching for a real estate agent and having trouble understanding the different organizational structures. Can you explain how it works?

Answer: Most real estate agents operate as independent contractors within their brokerage (office), thus have autonomy to operate their business/service model as they choose. With over 12,000 Realtors in the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors alone, the organizational structures and business models vary widely to suit an agent’s style of business and/or target clientele.

I think it’s almost as important for home buyers and sellers to learn about their prospective agent’s operating model as it is to make sure they know your market. An agent’s operating model will impact your experience and you need to make sure it aligns with your expectations.

I’ll break down some of the organizational structures that are most common today so you have an idea of what to look for.

Brokerage

At the top of the organizational structure is the brokerage, which is best described as the office your agent works for. The brokerage is the legal entity involved in the transaction and when you sign a Buyer Representation or Listing Agreement, it’s actually with the brokerage, with your agent as the assigned representative of the brokerage.

Currently in D.C., most brokerages are made up of multiple agents, often dozens to hundreds, and function like a shared office. An agent cannot operate independently outside of a brokerage, but an individual agent can have their own broker’s license and operate an independent brokerage.

Most agents operate as independent contractors within their brokerage, but there are some models, Redfin being the most popular, where agents are employees.

Agent Models

In most cases agents operate individually or within a team, structured in some common ways:

1. Individual Agent, No Support: Many agents work independently without any sort of support staff. The advantage for clients is that you always know who you’ll be working with and who is handling every detail of your transaction. The main disadvantage is that there is a single point of failure if that person is unavailable.

2. Individual Agent With Administrative Support: Some independent agents hire one or more people to support administrative tasks like scheduling and marketing. Some brokerages also offer this type of administrative support to their agents. This should be an advantage over #1 because the agent has more time for high-value tasks, but it also requires the administrative support to be on top of things and strong communication between agent and admin.

3. Team Partnership: Two or more experienced agents with strong individual businesses may partner to share some administrative support costs and build a stronger brand together. For the client, it has many of the same qualities as #2, but there’s usually an added benefit of knowing that there’s at least one other experienced agent available as back-up in case your agent in unavailable.

4. Team Lead With Coordinators: An individual agent or partnership with a large book of business that uses specialized buyer and seller coordinators to support client activities. An advantage to clients is that the transaction is generally led/directed by an experienced agent and that there is no single point of failure, you’re working with a support team. A disadvantage is that some or many high-value pieces of the transaction are handled by coordinators, not the lead (experienced) agent.

5. Team “CEO” With Junior Agents: An experienced agent who acts more as a CEO, overseeing the operations of a large team of agents, and personally handling very few transactions, if any. Clients should benefit from systems and processes the “CEO” agent used to become successful, imparted on the junior agents. A disadvantage is that these teams often have dozens or more agents and the experience of those agents varies widely and don’t necessarily reflect the talent of the “CEO” agent.

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Arlington resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: Does the Arlington market change in the winter?

Answer: November marks the start of the traditional “winter market” in Arlington that is defined by fewer homes being put up for sale and homes sitting on the market just a bit longer than they did earlier in the year. The decrease in new inventory will be obvious to anybody who has been searching for a home in 2019, but you’ll barely notice the increase in how long homes are taking to sell because the market is moving so quickly that even a slowdown will mimic spring markets in previous years.

Sharp Decrease In New Inventory

Historically, the fewest homes hit the market in Arlington from November-January, with the pace of new listings in December coming in at nearly 1/3 the rate of new listings from March-May. With inventory levels in 2019 already at historical lows, this winter will feel especially short on housing supply.

Buyer Demand Cools Off

Historically, the percentage of homes that go under contract within the first ten days decreases from November-January, with November and December (holiday season) having the most noticeable reduction in quick sales. However, with the pace of the Arlington market at all-time highs in 2019, you can expect the drop in demand in November and December to feel like peak spring demand in previous years.

Is The Winter The Right Time For You?

The winter can be a great time to buy if you’re more focused on value because demand decreases so you may pick up some negotiation leverage. However, if you’re searching for something unique and struggling to find properties that fit your criteria, the odds of the perfect place hitting the market in the winter decreases.

Given how low inventory is heading into this winter, I’m not sure buyers will find as many deals as they have in previous years. Demand is still strong from buyers who haven’t found a home yet in 2019 and low supply makes it a strong market for sellers, even during the holidays.

If you’re considering buying or selling in Arlington or the surrounding D.C. Metro communities and would like to learn more about the impact seasonality will have on your process, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected].

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column or to set-up an in-person meeting to discuss local real estate, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at www.EliResidential.com. Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington D.C., and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Arlington resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: I recently read an article by the Sun Gazette that median price per square foot was down since last year in Arlington and the rest of Northern Virginia. Is that what you’re seeing in the market, despite reports of prices going up?

Answer: I read that article as well and was equally confused by the statistic that $/sq. ft. was down 6.8% in Arlington in the first nine months of 2019 compared to the first nine months of 2018. While this data point may be technically correct, it doesn’t accurately represent what’s happening in the Arlington/Northern Virginia marketplace. Even without having access to the data behind it, does anybody believe that with all the news about the Amazon-effect on Arlington’s real estate market, that people are paying less per square foot in 2019?

Price-Per-Square-Foot Is Actually Up (Obviously)

The truth is that while the median $/sq. ft. did drop year-over-year in the first nine months of 2019, it was actually due to a shift in the type of inventory that sold, not because buyers are getting more for their money. As I pointed out earlier this year in an article about a national news story on Arlington’s real estate market, it’s easy to find market data that sounds interesting (aka generates reader clicks) but doesn’t tell an accurate story.

When I drilled into the 2018 vs. 2019 data on median and average $/sq. ft., I found that within comparable sub-markets (e.g. 2 BR condos, 4 BR single-family, etc) median and average $/sq. ft. increased year-over-year. In fact, if you use average $/sq. ft. instead of median, like the article references, there was a 9.5% increase across Arlington.

In this case average is a better statistical measure than median, but of course the median $/sq. ft. made for a better story.

Accurate Headlines From The First Nine Months

While I have the data together comparing the first nine months of 2019 to the first nine months of 2018, I’ll go ahead and offer up five headlines that accurately represent the Arlington real estate market through September 2019:

  • The market is up, but not by as much as you might think based on some news stories. The average purchase price in Arlington jumped 5.8% to just over $722,000.
  • A lack of inventory drove total sales down by 8%, with the biggest drop-off showing up in the condo market which suffered from a 12.3% drop in sales, led by a 13.6% drop in two-bedroom condo sales.
  • The price range of the middle 50% of homes jumped from $380,000-$864,300 in 2018 to $415,000-$916,000 in 2019, a 9.2% increase in the lower limit and a 6% increase in the upper limit. This indicates that the Amazon-effect is impacting lower price points faster than upper price points which makes sense because investors and other speculators are more likely to purchase at lower prices.
  • Good properties sold much faster in 2019 with 62.7% of homes selling in the first 10 days, compared to 46.4% in 2018. The craziest stat? 85.5% of 2 BR townhomes/duplexes sold within the first 10 days.
  • Price growth in the 22202 zip code, the area surrounding Pentagon City and Crystal City aka National Landing aka Bezosville, led all Arlington zip codes with a 13.7% jump in average sold price.

If you ever run across market data you’re not sure about or would like a customized data analysis, please reach out to me at [email protected].

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column or to set-up an in-person meeting to discuss local real estate, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at www.EliResidential.com. Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington D.C., and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Arlington resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

This past week, Bright MLS announced major changes to prevent agents and brokerages from marketing properties for sale that are not entered into the MLS.

Previously, there were no restrictions on where and how long a property could be marketed to the public and/or other agents if it was not in the MLS. Effective immediately, a property must be entered into the MLS within one business day of any marketing (some exceptions apply). Violators will be fined up to $5,000 per violation.

Initially it might seem like this rule is unnecessarily restrictive and hurts consumers, but I strongly believe it is a net benefit for the marketplace.

What is MLS?

MLSs (Multiple Listing Services) are the organizations that allow agents and consumers to see all properties for sale in one place; the database of record that powers your favorite property search apps/websites. They are private entities born from the cooperation of regional brokerages, funded through brokerage and agent fees. There are around 600 regional MLSs across the country.

What is Bright MLS?

Bright is the name of our local MLS and is the largest in the country. It is responsible for property listings in all of D.C., MD,and DE, most of VA and PA and some of NJ and WV.

How it Benefits You

This type of regional cooperation between brokerages means that buyers have access to every home for sale in one centralized location, thus increasing the odds of finding the right home, and sellers can ensure their home is visible to every buyer, thus increasing the odds of their home selling for full market value.

A market without an MLS is fragmented, inefficient and not in the best interest of consumers.

New Pre/Off-Market Policy Change is Necessary

Over the last few years, in an effort to distinguish themselves from competition, brokerages and agents were engaged in a fierce competition to establish an inventory of pre/off-market properties marketed through independent websites, portals and social media channels. The idea was that if an agent or brokerage has a large inventory of off-MLS properties, in addition to access to all on-MLS properties, they’d be able to attract more clients.

These efforts led to fragmented “shadow markets” across the region, making it impossible for buyers to access all properties for sale and potentially limiting a seller’s market exposure. The Bright MLS Board, made up of brokers from across the region, recognized this problem and unanimously determined that changes were needed to secure the enormous benefits of cooperation.

The new rules still allow intra-brokerage marketing of off-market properties and agents to have one-off conversations with other agents and/or buyers about off-market properties, but agents/brokers cannot engage in public or inter-brokerage marketing.

What to Expect

Going forward, you should no longer find a property being marketed for sale or coming up for sale that is not entered in the MLS and widely available across all/most consumer-facing property search websites/apps. This includes social media, even Instagram and Facebook Stories.

One caveat is that not every consumer-facing property search website/app picks up properties entered into the MLS with a Coming Soon status. Bright MLS allows properties to be entered as Coming Soon for up to 21 days.

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Arlington resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: Are there any loan programs available to people buying a home in Arlington?

Answer: October is Housing Month in Arlington which means some nice County programs including the annual Live In Arlington Info Fair which provides a ton of great information and education on fair and affordable housing in the County.

To support affordable housing, Arlington offers four programs for moderate-income homebuyers that I’ll highlight below.

Most Popular: Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) Community Homeownership Revitalization Program (CHRP)

  • Reduces your interest rate on a VHDA loan by 1%
  • Household income must be 120% or less of the Area Median Income (AMI)
  • Purchase must be in one of three Arlington County zip codes: 22203, 22204, 22206
  • Must be a first-time homebuyer
  • Can be combined with other programs
  • Programs ends when funds run out each year. $5M was allocated in 2019 and ran out in September. Program will begin again in 2020 with new funding.

Most Unique: Moderate Income Purchase Assistance Program (MIPAP)

  • Interest-free loan up to 25% of the purchase price to cover down payments, closing costs, rate buy-downs, etc.
  • Owner pays back loan, interest-free, plus 25% of equity at time of a sale or refinance. If no equity or negative equity, only the original loan is due. This incentivizes owners to refinance once they can afford the home on their own and recycle the funds back to the County to expand the program.
  • MIPAP has only been used about ten times in the last two years, representing 50% of the program’s applicants
  • Household income must be 80% or less of the Area Median Income (AMI) and other loan/credit limits exist
  • Must be a first-time homebuyer or no interest in property within the last three year

Live Where You Work: Arlington County Employee Program (LINK)

  • Forgivable loan for Arlington County employees up to $6,600 (FY2020), becomes a grant after three years and does not have to be paid back
  • Can be used for down payment and/or closing costs and combined with other programs
  • No income limits or other restrictions
  • Also meant for teachers, but currently no budget allocated to it in FY20

Reduced Rate Homeownership: Affordable Dwelling Units (ADUs)

  • Housing units required to maintain specific reduced-price levels based on affordability standards for moderate income buyers
  • Buyers must register to qualify for ADUs and, once registered, will be notified when ADUs come up for sale. If multiple buyers are interested in purchasing an available ADU, there is a priority drawing.
  • Developers can include ADUs in new construction as a community benefit. Recent examples include Key & Nash (four two-bedrooms) in Rosslyn and Carver Place (six three-bedrooms) off Columbia Pike (Pike East)
  • Resale properties are periodically for sale, but there are none currently
  • Arlington currently has 55 ADUs in its portfolio
  • Arlington lender requirements mean buyers have access to a limited set of lenders and should inquire with their lender if they meet the portfolio requirements

If you have questions about any of these programs or would like to explore how they fit into your purchase strategy, feel free to email me at [email protected].

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column or to set-up an in-person meeting to discuss local real estate, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at www.EliResidential.com. Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington D.C., and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Arlington resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Due to the amount of interest I’ve gotten over the last few years on smoking bans in condos, and the number of buildings currently trying to ban smoking, I decided to organize a panel discussion/information session on it.

Next Tuesday, October 15 from 7-8:30 p.m. I’m hosting four Board/Committee members who led the smoking ban effort in their respective (Arlington) buildings to share their approach, lessons learned and more. We will also be joined by the Northern Virginia Regional Manager for Virginia’s Tobacco Control Program.

You do not have to be Arlington-based to attend. If you can’t make it in person, I plan on broadcasting on Facebook Live and having the recording available afterwards for anybody who wants to watch.

If you’d like to attend or to view the live or recorded version, please email me at [email protected].

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column or to set-up an in-person meeting to discuss local real estate, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at www.EliResidential.com. Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington D.C., and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Arlington resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: Is it possible to buy a home with less than 20% down?

Answer: I’m always surprised by the number of people who assume they have to put 20% down to buy a home and delay their goal of becoming a homeowner for years because of it. Studies show that the most common reason people give for not buying a home is that they don’t have enough for a down payment.

In reality, about 1/3 of Arlington buyers purchase a home with less than 20% down and for many buyers, especially first-time home buyers, they’re putting as little as 3-5% down.

Programs For Everybody

For those with good credit, there are popular Conventional Loan programs allowing for as little as 3% down and for those with lower credit scores, FHA Loan programs range from 3.5%-10% down. There are also some exceptional programs available to those with great credit and strong incomes allowing for 10%-15% down at great rates.

Specialty Programs For Military and Doctors

If you are an active-duty or former service member you likely know about VA Loans that allow purchases with zero down. Doctors also have access to special loan programs offering great rates with low down payments for large loan amounts.

Mortgage Insurance

Most loans with less than 20% down will include mortgage insurance, which I wrote about here. It will increase your monthly payment and generally represents a higher percentage of your loan amount the less you put down. However, there are options to get rid of the mortgage insurance fees by buying it out or applying for early removal after a couple of years. There are also some programs that do not include mortgage insurance at all.

Impact on Negotiations

Clients often ask me how much a lower down payment will impact their ability to negotiate, so last year I ran the numbers on the impact of different down payments on the percentage buyers were negotiating off the sale price.

The results showed that only cash buyers (100% down) and buyers not putting any money down were materially impacted by their down payment, the negotiation leverage was pretty similar for everybody in between.

However, it would be misleading to suggest that down payment percentage doesn’t have any impact. Most sellers will respond more enthusiastically to higher down payments and this comes into play in competitive scenarios (multiple offers), which has become common in Arlington and the surrounding D.C. Metro neighborhoods. When sellers are choosing between multiple, similar offers, buyers with higher down payments have an advantage.

Buyers can combat the potential negative impact of a lower down payment in multiple offer scenarios by getting a strong pre-approval letter from a reputable local lender, offering to get pre-approved by a lender of the seller’s choosing, increasing the Earnest Money Deposit, or a number of other tweaks to the contract that will be looked at favorably by the seller, without increasing risk to the buyer or increasing the offer price.

Favorite Mortgage Programs

Here’s a link to an article I wrote with some of my favorite mortgage programs and contact information for great lenders who offer them.

If you’d like any additional information or recommendations on lenders or loan programs, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at [email protected]. If you’re thinking about buying a home in Arlington or the surrounding Northern VA/D.C. Metro neighborhoods, I’d be happy to meet with you to discuss your options.

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column or to set-up an in-person meeting to discuss local real estate, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at www.EliResidential.com. Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington D.C., and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Arlington resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: Are there any smoke-free condo buildings in Arlington?

Answer: There is overwhelming support amongst condo owners in Arlington and the D.C. area to ban smoking in condo buildings, including within individual units and balconies. The problem is that it requires a two-thirds (or more) vote in all existing condo buildings to change the by-laws to ban smoking completely and only a handful of buildings have successfully done so.

2000 Clarendon to be Smoke-Free, LEED Certified

I’d like to recognize The Bush Companies for making 2000 Clarendon, an 87-unit condo building currently under construction in the Courthouse neighborhood, for being the first developer in Arlington to ban smoking outright in the original by-laws. Per the by-laws:

“Smoking is prohibited inside the Condominium building. Smoking is prohibited outside the Condominium building except in designated smoking areas located at least 25 feet from all entries, outdoor air intakes and operable windows. The no-smoking policy applies to spaces outside the property line used for business purposes.”

In addition to being smoke-free, 2000 Clarendon will also be a LEED Certified “green” building.

There is real demand in the Arlington condo market for smoke-free buildings and there will likely be multiple owners who choose 2000 Clarendon as their home because of the smoking ban. I believe that the decision by The Bush Companies to ban smoking will result in stronger sales and I expect more developers in Arlington and the surrounding D.C. area to follow suit.

On October 15 I’m hosting a panel and info session on smoking bans in existing condo buildings. If you are interested in attending or getting a recording of the meeting, please email me at [email protected].

2000 Clarendon Sales Update

If you’re in the market for a condo in the Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor and aren’t aware of 2000 Clarendon, it’s because marketing has been very limited and nothing has been entered into the MLS yet (hopefully you saw my column introducing 2000 Clarendon in April). However, demand has been high enough without a full marketing push that over 50% of the units are already under contract.

The shift in demand within the Arlington condo market to larger units with 2+ bedrooms is evident at 2000 Clarendon, with impressive demand for their 2 BR and 2 BR+Den units and double-digit waiting lists. The 1 BR+Den floor plans have been nearly as popular, but 1 BR sales have lagged. I expect the 1 BRs to move rather quickly once they’re entered into the MLS for broader distribution.

The developer is releasing units for sale by floor and to-date ten of the fourteen floors have been released with floors 9, 11, 13 and 14 yet to be offered. Some units on the upper floors are expected to have direct D.C. views.

If you’re interested in learning more about available units at 2000 Clarendon or other new condo development in Arlington or the D.C. area, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected].

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column or to set-up an in-person meeting to discuss local real estate, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at www.EliResidential.com. Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington D.C., and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

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